Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wine and Movement.

Motor. Motor. Motor. That's all you ever hear about when it comes to stroke recovery. In rehabilitation research we tend to obsess over movement. Movement quality, movement speed, and how movement effects function. Of course movement is only half the equation. The other half is the feeling of movement. Now-- I know, you're thinking, "Oooh, he's going to get all squishy with the feelings..." Nope. The feeling of a movement is an essential to learning how to move. If you cannot feel the movement, every time you do the movement, it's like the first time. Lack of feeling the eliminates an essential part of the motor learning feedback loop. I did a talk recently to therapists and between spiels a therapist came up and told me that, like me, she thought that the feeling of movement (called proprioception) could be re-taught after stroke. And she put it in a very interesting way. She said it's like learning to appreciate fine wine; at first you can't tell table wine from a 1939 Ch√Ęteau-whatever. But over time, as your palate develops, you learn to taste subtle differences. Bottom line: proprioception can be re-taught.

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